BLUNT BUTCHER / ANCHOR
Maharaja Hari Singh is currently much in demand in Kashmir’s dirty political market, reason being his enactment of state subject laws in 1927, which are under judicial scanner at the apex level. From Omar Abdullah to Mehbooba Mufti and from top level to bottom level, ‘mainstream’ functionaries are invoking the Maharaja, describing him a ‘visionary’, ‘protector of Jammu and Kashmir’s special identity’ , ‘a farsighted Maharaja’ and what not. But none of them shows least interest in remembering the Maharaja in a befitting way; not even the BJP, a self proclaimed champion of the Jammu cause.
23rd September is just approaching and the resolution adopted by Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council to declare a public holiday on this day, as a tribute to Maharaja Hari Singh on his birth anniversary, is yet to get governmental nod, notwithstanding the fact that the two grandsons of the illustrious and most loved ruler of the State are legislators of the ruling coalition-Ajatshatru Singh, a BJP MLC and Vikramaditya Singh, a PDP MLC.
If the National Conference, the PDP and the Congress show same vehemence in forcing the government to declare 23rd September as public holiday, as they are demonstrating in respect of Article 35A, a legacy of the Maharaja, the PDP-BJP dispensation will have no option but to succumb. But they won’t. They are sufferers of Kashmir-centric syndrome. Had they any concern for Jammu, the NC lawmaker Bashir Ahmed Veeri would not have told reporters, immediately after the passage of resolution in Legislative Council on 27th January this year, “22 people were killed in central jail by the Maharaja’s forces on July 13 (1931). We celebrate it as Martyr’s Day. How can you declare a holiday in the name of those, who are instrumental in massacre? We are opposed to it. We walked-out from the House after protests. Our demand is that the resolution should be withdrawn as it has no locus-standi”. Did Omar Abdullah reprimand, least to speak of dispel, this lawmaker for speaking such harsh words for the Maharaja, whom he and his party is invoking these days in defence of Article 35A?
Ironically, the National Conference, which is holding the Maharaja as instrumental in ‘1931 massacre’, feels no inhibition in describing terrorist Burhan Wani a martyr. During the same session of the Legislative Council, which adopted resolution about deliration of the Maharaja’s birthday as holiday, NC legislator Showkat Hussain Ganai on 3rd January 2017 termed slain Hizb Commander Burhan Wani as a freedom fighter and a martyr, who “attained martyrdom while fighting for a cause”.
Jammu should, in fact, have taken lead in forcing the PDP-BJP government of scrapping 13th July as Martyrs Day and declaring 23rd September as holiday to show its gratitude to the Maharaja, whose rule is still considered to be a golden era of Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP too has forgotten its mandate of record 25 members in the Legislative Assembly, which is reflected by its failure in getting the popular demand implemented.
“We are very happy. Passage of this resolution in the Upper House is a welcome sign in restoration of the glory of Maharaja Hari Singh,” Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh had told the media after historic resolution adopted by the Legislative Council.
As the days are progressing and the demand for declaring 23rd September as holiday is gaining momentum, it will be interesting to watch how the BJP conducts itself in assuaging popular sentiments in the Duggarland. The BJP has just two days back reinforced its commitment to respect the sentiments of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Home Minister Rajnath Singh was candid about it. More so, it will also be interesting to watch how the grandsons of the great Maharaja respond to their ‘demarche’ to their respective political parties of the PDP and the BJP, who are at the helm of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir.
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